Topic: Zoneamento e Uso do Solo

Mayor’s Desk

Rezoning and Revitalization in Minneapolis

By Anthony Flint, Junho 12, 2024

Jacob Frey is an unabashed transplant. While attending law school at Villanova, the Virginia native and professional runner came to Minneapolis to run the Twin Cities Marathon and, as he tells it, fell in love with the city. The day after graduating, he drove the 1,200 miles west to Minneapolis, his chosen home.

He started as an employment and civil rights attorney, became a community organizer, served on the City Council, and was elected mayor in 2017, promptly faced with COVID and the police murder of George Floyd in 2020. He was re-elected in 2021 and continued to address police and race relations, as well as the connections among racial equity, affordability, and zoning.

Senior Fellow Anthony Flint interviewed Frey while visiting Minneapolis for the American Planning Association National Planning Conference. Frey later joined the Lincoln Institute and two other mayors from legacy cities—Aftab Pureval of Cincinnati and Paige Cognetti of Scranton—for a standing-room-only APA panel discussion about what’s working in legacy cities.

The interview, which has been edited for length, can be heard in full on the Land Matters podcast.

Anthony Flint: Minneapolis has been a pioneer in zoning reform and banning single-family-only zoning. How is it going? Can you talk a little bit about whether increasing supply is a good path to affordability?

Jacob Frey: There are two critical paths that you need to take simultaneously to achieve affordability. The first is subsidy. It’s bridging the gap between the market rate and the affordable rate, making sure that people who are experiencing homelessness have that next rung on the ladder to pull themselves out. That side of the equation can’t be achieved simply through supply; it requires some government intervention.

About 10 years ago when I first took office as a city council member, I said very clearly that we were going to go to war on surface parking lots. We were going to dramatically add supply and density, and we did. We coupled that with a comprehensive plan which, as you mentioned, got rid of single-family exclusive zoning, allowing duplexes and triplexes in residential neighborhoods, and then also adding density and height along commercial corridors.

All those things have allowed Minneapolis to keep rents down more than just about any other major city in the country. Other cities were seeing double-digit increases, where we were keeping our rent increases to 1 percent and 2 percent. That’s with a whole lot of new people moving in. We’ve dramatically increased supply and it’s helped a whole lot.

For years, we were operating under these prescriptive zoning ordinances that explicitly said, we’re going to keep the Blacks and the Jews in one portion of the city. When that became illegal to do explicitly, we then started to do the same stuff implicitly through the zoning code, making it so that unless you could own a huge home on a huge parcel, you couldn’t live in huge swaths of the city. The tails of those decisions continued to the present. We wanted to push back on that. We’re going for a diversity of housing options in every neighborhood, and therefore a diversity of people in every neighborhood. In the last three years, we’ve built over 1,000 housing units in multifamily buildings on parcels that previously would only allow a single-family home.

We’ve seen a whole lot of progress . . . and then we got sued. We’re going to ultimately win, whether through legislation or through the litigation itself. Everybody should have that opportunity to live in a great city, and we want to create that opportunity for everyone.

AF: For people outside of Minneapolis, who did you get sued by, and what was the rationale?

JF: We got sued by a group of people who said we were doing something that would harm the environment, and I adamantly disagree. One of the best ways to improve the environment, to reduce your individual carbon output, is by living in a great city. Rather than commuting 45 minutes into work from your own single-family home and picket fence out in the suburbs or exurbs, you can walk to the grocery store and take your bicycle to work. If you do take a car, well, it’s fewer miles traveled anyway. The suit is largely saying that we should have conducted an environmental review on this comprehensive plan and the total potential build-out. Let’s be real here. We can’t assume that every single building downtown is going to be 100 stories tall and every single-family home is going to be a triplex, because that is never going to happen. The way they were asking us to calculate this buildout is not operating in reality.

AF: Turning now to transit and mobility, how are you achieving your vision for sustainable mobility in a historically car-dependent metropolis?

JF: Our city was built out at a time when people were largely dependent on cars. To the extent that it was built out prior to that time period, the streets and the grids were shifted to make them car-centric. Of course, we recognize that cars are a way people get around, but we want to add options so people can safely and comfortably take their bike to work, we want to make it so that pedestrians feel comfortable and in fact are prioritized, we want to add public transportation, not just as an option that’s available occasionally, but as a convenient one for getting from point A to point B.

We are adding bus rapid transit wherever we can. We’ve seen a dramatic uptick in the number of BRT lines, and over the last 15 years, Minneapolis has grown by about 50,000 people, yet the total vehicle miles traveled and gas emissions have gone down.

We recognize that people are going to take cars and we’re going to try to make those cars as sustainable as possible through electric vehicle charging stations. Right now we’re adding bus-specific transit lanes as well so that you can take the bus and whip by traffic that you would otherwise be sitting in.

Old and new approaches to architecture in the Twin Cities. Credit: Anthony Flint.

 

AF: What is your assessment of land-based financing to fund transit, redevelopment, affordable housing, and parks? The idea is that government action and investments create value in private land and development. Isn’t it possible to harness some portion of that increase in value and plow it back into the community? Are you a value capture fan?

JF: I think it’s not smart to be pro-value capture, pro-TIF, or anti–value capture, anti-TIF. It is a very important tool and needs to be balanced.

There is a way to enhance a city by using tools such as value capture and TIF to achieve wonderful structures and building and transportation options that would not happen but for government intervention. We’ve been using it in a number of different ways, including one of the most popular policy moves I’d say we’ve done in the last few years, which is to knock down this old Kmart. To take you back: 40 or 50 years [ago] there was a policy decision made to block off Nicollet Avenue and put a big Kmart in a huge parking lot in the middle of it.

It would be somewhat unfair of me to question decisions that were made at that time, because I’m sure 40 years from now, there are decisions I will have made that turn out to be not so smart, but this is one of the worst, in my opinion, urban planning decisions that was made in our city. We found ways to get land control over that former Kmart. We are knocking the building down. We’re opening up the street and breathing new life into this important artery and making sure everything is there, from a park to affordable housing to commercial to market rate. It allows the flow of entrepreneurship and new business growth on that corridor to expand south and north. A big part of what we’re using to achieve this large-scale goal is value capture.

It is a tool that should be used, but it’s also a tool that shouldn’t be used every single time there’s a new building that goes up or a new opportunity to be had. It’s got to be a balance.

AF: A task force is looking at changes to the Metropolitan Council, but in what ways is this pioneering arrangement working? Can or should it be replicable, this idea of regional governance?

JF: You can’t think about any city as living in a vacuum. Mayor Carter [of St. Paul] and I joke that it’s not like we just protect the water on our side of the Mississippi River. We share. Likewise, we share an economy that doesn’t end where the street ends and the boundary starts.

I’ve got a responsibility to the city of Minneapolis, and it helps to have a governing body that has a regional focus. We’ve got a Metropolitan Council appointed largely by the governor that helps us put up light rail that goes through a number of different municipalities. It helps us design bus-rapid transit, helps pay for Metropolitan Transit police. To have that regional focus is not just important; it’s crucial to furthering a regional mindset and goal.

AF: What’s your view on skyways? Current urban planning practices suggest a focus on the street and activity at the street level. Is there a conflict there? Tell us a little bit about the urban design part of your job.

JF: If you’ve got 100,000, 200,000 people coming downtown, and you’ve got two levels of activity, you’re splitting whatever number it is between those two levels.Do I like the splitting of activity? Of course I don’t. Nobody does. I’d rather have a concentration of all that bustle and excitement and vibrancy all on one level. But I use the skyways. During the months where it’s cold, I go in and I grab a sandwich and I don’t feel guilty about it. In fact, I’m really pumped to see the small local business owners that are operating in it.

Skyways have been hit particularly hard in the last few years because of a decrease in the number of workers that come downtown on an annual basis. I will not take any more criticism about the lack of vibrancy downtown or somebody’s favorite sandwich shop closing, from the person that’s sitting on their couch at home in the suburbs. If you care, then you should be supporting that sandwich shop.

If you want to see vibrance and want to see more foot traffic, your feet should be adding to that traffic. We are increasing the numbers pretty dramatically right now. People are definitely coming back, but it’s not happening all in one big burst.

AF: It’s become a bit of a cliche, but there really is no substitute for being in the office.

JF: It’s the unplanned interactions that ultimately help. I’m largely in Minneapolis because of a coincidence. You meet somebody, you get a job, you get an interview, you find a great city that you fall in love with. These things only happen because you were there to have it happen to you.

 


Anthony Flint is a senior fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, host of the Land Matters podcast, contributing editor of Land Lines, and author of Mayor’s Desk: 20 Conversations with Local Leaders Solving Global Problems.

Lead image: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Credit: Office of Mayor Frey.

Eventos

Innovations in Manufactured Homes (I’m HOME) Annual Conference 2024

Setembro 24, 2024 - Setembro 25, 2024

Scottsdale, AZ United States

Offered in inglês

The I’m HOME Annual Conference will be held September 24 to 25 in Phoenix, Arizona. After the success of the 2023 conference, the I’m HOME Network is excited to gather again and highlight policy and technical advancements in the manufactured housing industry. The early bird registration is from May 21, 2024 to June 30, 2024. See the Registration Fees section below for details. View a preliminary conference agenda.

This year’s annual conference will center around the theme of resilience. Housing resilience encompasses home quality, community infrastructure, finance, policy, and people. More climate-resilient housing is important because in addition to the benefits of disaster impact mitigation and utility cost savings, resilient housing promotes tenure security, financial health, and long-term affordability. When built well, sited properly, and maintained, manufactured housing can be climate resilient and energy efficient. However, policy issues present obstacles to broader adoption. The annual conference agenda will dig into how to overcome some of these obstacles and highlight how manufactured housing and homeowners embody resilience.

The I’m HOME Network is committed to uplifting manufactured housing as a solution to the United States’ housing issues, and the annual conference will bring together manufactured housing stakeholders including researchers, advocates, policymakers, for-profit and non-profit industry experts, and homeowners to discuss this often-overlooked housing type.

Please reach out to imhome@lincolninst.edu with any questions.

There will be no virtual option for this conference.

Registration Fees

Homeowner or Manufactured Housing Resident
Attendees who currently reside in a manufactured home within a manufactured home community, resident-owned community, or fee-simple land. There is no fee for this group. 

Student
Attendees who are currently enrolled in an accredited academic institution.

Early Bird Fee: $25
Regular Fee: $50

Government Affairs & For-Profit Industry Representatives
Attendees who are affiliated with private companies or lobbying firms.

Early Bird Fee: $300
Regular Fee: $350

General
Attendees who do not fall into any of the other listed categories.

Early Bird Fee: $50
Regular Fee: $100


Details

Date
Setembro 24, 2024 - Setembro 25, 2024
Registration Period
Maio 21, 2024 - Agosto 23, 2024
Location
Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale Resort
5001 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ United States
Language
inglês
Downloads

Register

Registration ends on August 23, 2024 11:59 PM.


Keywords

habitações pré-fabricadas, Zonificação

A Conversation with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

May 14, 2024

By Anthony Flint, May 14, 2024

 

Consider Minnesota, a place that has pioneered many things: Scotch tape, the first toaster, the Mall of America. Add to that one more: taking the lead in zoning reform for more affordable housing.

Minneapolis was the first city in the country to abolish single-family-only zoning, which means a duplex or a triplex or any kind of greater density is allowed now on residential parcels. The idea is to increase supply with more affordable varieties of housing, rather than just the single-family home, which of course tends to be more expensive.

Dozens of cities across the country followed suit, in a quest for more density and multifamily housing in places where the single-family home has been dominant.

Is it working? For this episode of the Land Matters podcast, we sat down with the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, to talk about that and more, including bike and bus lanes, regional governance, value capture for urban infill redevelopment, return to work, and the city’s infamous skyways system.

The City of Lakes was the site of the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference this year, and a delegation from the Lincoln Institute was there.

Frey is an unabashed transplant. He grew up in northern Virginia and went to the College of William and Mary on a track scholarship, and after graduating with a degree in government, he started running professionally while attending law school at Villanova in Philadelphia. That’s when he came to Minneapolis to run the Twin Cities Marathon and, as he tells it, fell in love with the city. The day after graduating, he drove the 1,200 miles west to Minneapolis, his chosen home.

He started as an employment and civil rights attorney, became an active community organizer, served on the City Council and was elected mayor in 2017. He saw the single-family-only zoning ban through in 2019, then was promptly faced with COVID and the police murder of George Floyd in 2020. He was reelected in 2021 and has continued to address police and race relations, and indeed race and equity became a bigger part of the story of the lack of affordable housing, as he talked about how exclusive zoning has driven segregation.

“For years, we were operating under these fairly prescriptive zoning ordinances, that explicitly said, we’re going to keep the Blacks and the Jews over in one portion of the city,” Frey said. “During the Civil Rights Act, that became illegal to do explicitly. We then started to do the same stuff implicitly through the zoning code, making it so that unless you could own a huge home on a huge parcel, you couldn’t live in huge swaths of the city. We wanted to push back on that.”

At APA, Jacob Fry joined two other “Mayor’s Desk” interviewees—Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval and Paige Cognetti, mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania—for a standing-room-only panel discussion of what’s working and what’s not in legacy cities trying to make a comeback from population loss and disinvestment.

A lightly edited version of this interview will be available online and ultimately in print in Land Lines magazine as the latest installment of Mayor’s Desk, the series of Q&As with mayors from around the world—now also available as a book compilation, Mayor’s Desk: 20 Conversations with Local Leaders Solving Global Problems.

 


 

Anthony Flint is a senior fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, host of the Land Matters podcast, and a contributing editor of Land Lines.

Lead image: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks with members of the press. Credit: Office of Mayor Frey.


Further Reading

House passes legislation to halt 2040 Plan lawsuit (Minneapolis Reformer)

Zoning Reform Is Working in Minneapolis (Planetizen)

Minneapolis Land Use Reforms Offer a Blueprint for Housing Affordability (Pew Charitable Trusts)

Influential Minneapolis Housing Shift Links Affordability, Equity (Land Lines)

Minneapolis’ Lake Street Kmart is gone. Here’s what could come next (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Opinion: Direct elections the best way for the Metropolitan Council to live up to its nation-leading potential (Minneapolis Post)

The Twin Cities Skyways Face an Uncertain Future (Governing)

Puzzling Out the Housing Crisis

April 16, 2024

By Anthony Flint, April 16, 2024

 

The housing affordability crisis keeps rolling on, dragging down otherwise booming local economies. A survey for the Boston Chamber of Commerce found that nearly one-third of young people say they plan to leave because of high home prices. The Massachusetts housing chief bemoaned: “That’s our workforce.”

“That’s your favorite restaurant that can’t find enough help to stay open,” he wrote in the Boston Globe. “That’s the child-care provider you drop your kids off with. . . . That’s the large company considering moving out of state. That’s our economy.”

Runaway housing costs are impacting homebuyers and renters alike, not just in Boston but nationwide. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the number of cost-burdened renters hit a record high with half of all households spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities.

Young people aren’t the only ones affected by the current crisis. The US population of people over 65 is ballooning past 60 million, and most of those people will be on fixed incomes while managing rising health care costs.

The Lincoln Institute is well-attuned to this extraordinary challenge, and recently dedicated our annual Journalists Forum to the subject of affordable housing. It was a lively series of conversations over two days, with some 30 reporters, editors, podcasters, and Substack columnists sizing up the problem and assessing the impact of several current policy interventions. This episode of the Land Matters podcast features highlights from the event.

The 2023 Journalists Forum: Innovations in Affordability was made possible by a partnership with the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and TD Bank. The annual convening bridges the media and academic inquiry, allowing journalists to explore new ideas with researchers and practitioners and to network with each other.

The forum was organized by first looking at the scope of the crisis, followed by an assessment of four major interventions: statewide zoning mandates requiring cities and towns to allow more multifamily development; tax policy designed to help manage runaway land prices and real estate speculation (with Detroit’s efforts to establish a land value tax as a case study); local strategies to outmaneuver institutional investors; and potential changes in the home financing system to help close a stubborn racial wealth gap.

Arthur Jemison, director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency, delivered the keynote address, describing the city’s “all of the above” approach to increasing housing supply, including legalizing accessory dwelling units or ADUs, embracing a citywide rezoning initiative known as “Squares and Streets,” and offering big incentives to property owners who convert vacant office buildings to residences.

Cities like Boston are going to need all that and more. According to the State of the Nation’s Housing report issued annually by the Joint Center for Housing Studies, home construction hasn’t kept pace with demand ever since the Great Recession. Prices are up 40 percent nationwide, inventory is tight, and it appears the era of low interest rates is decidedly over.

 


 

Anthony Flint is a senior fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, host of the Land Matters podcast, and a contributing editor of Land Lines.

Lead image: Chris Arnold of NPR moderates a panel on housing finance at the Lincoln Institute Journalists Forum with (l-r) Jim Gray of the Lincoln Institute, MJ Hopkins of TD Bank, Chrystal Kornegay of Mass Housing, and Chris Herbert of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Credit: Anthony Flint.


 

Further Reading

2023 Journalists Forum: Innovations in Affordability (Lincoln Institute)

No Single Policy Will Increase Housing Affordability. We Need a Comprehensive Strategy. (Urban Institute)

AARP Future of Housing (AARP)

Social Housing in America: Architects Must Answer the Call (Common Edge)

Why Is BC so unaffordable? (BCGEU)